Ore Mountains — or the Erzgebirge in German — is indeed an ideal holiday spot for those on the lookout for something new at every corner. Situated in Saxony on the German border with the Czech Republic, the area is blessed with incredible natural beauty that incorporates mountain ranges, mysterious woods, and serendipitous lakes, dominated by the Ore Mountains.
Once you’ve had your fill of outdoor sports and natural rejuvenation it’s time to explore the little towns and villages that have a wealth of history to divulge.
Erzgebirge is where you’ll find the heart of the wooden toy making industry. For this you need to visit the toy-making town of Seiffen. If you’ve ever wondered where the cute little wooden toys and religious figures that adorn Christmas markets and other souvenir stores come from, here’s your answer. :-)
This is also your chance to see how it’s made. Learn all about its history when it used to be a household enterprise employing the efforts of all from the father to the seven-year old who was handy with a hammer. It was from these little homes in the Ore Mountains that these wooden toys made their way to the rest of the world, becoming ubiquitous souvenirs of German craftsmanship.
You can’t escape the mining history embedded in these mountain ranges. Abandoned mines, tunnels, and pits remain as reminder to a past when silver, cobalt, and tin put the Erz, meaning ore, in the Erzgebirge.
About a hundred museums wait to inform you all about anything you may want to know about the Ore Mountains. They will reveal all the richness of the past and give you a real taste of not just the mining, but also the old railways, mills, and of course the toy manufacturing.
But if you really want to know all about the mining industry, make your way to the Bergbaumuseum house in a 400 year old building with quite a history of its own.
The Erzgebirge Museum is as good a place as any to arm yourself with information about this historic little region. To make your trip a more authentic experience of course, visit Schlettau palace, the St. Peter’s Cathedral, the natural wonders of the basalt pillars in Scheibenberg, and the renaissance mining town of Marienberg that are living testimonials to the proud past of the Ore Mountains.
Annaberg-Buchholz is another historic town with its share of celebrities such as Adam Ries. The St. Annen Gothic church is a must-see with its intriguing artistic interiors and sculptures. The little museum of Frohnauer Hammer located nearby will take you on a guided tour of a smith from the 17th century.
Unlike some other tourist spots, the Erzgebirge does not turn unwelcoming in winter. In fact, it is the perfect time to indulge in winter sport as the whole area comes under a blanket of the purest snow. Night times are lighted by ethereal Christmas lights that shimmer all over the mountainous landscape. The Ore Mountains turn into one beautiful fairytale land while the merrymaking reaches full throttle amid peaceful surrounds.
And, convinced? :-)